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Moderna

Analysing companies' finances and value from their financial statements using ratios and formulae
TheMotorcycleBoy
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Moderna

#375374

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » January 10th, 2021, 8:13 am

SalvorHardin wrote:
SalvorHardin wrote:I haven't come across a decent investment candidate, though this isn't a sector in which I have any great confidence in my abilities to analyse (and I missed Moderna). It may very well be that this is a technology that doesn't emerge from the labs with one company's patents nailed to it, but instead is applied across an entire industry more like open source software.

Following a conversation with my biologist friend, earlier this evening I made a small purchase of 250 shares in Moderna.

One way to get to learn about an industry is to buy shares in a company in that industry. Gives you a bit of an incentive. I know you're supposed to do the research before buying but sometimes an exception can be made, and it's not as if I'm betting the farm :D

Time to watch a DVD. ReGenesis is calling methinks...

Hi Salvor,

I wondered if there were any other things that attracted you to Moderna, other than their recent success in the Covid mRNA vaccine?

I don't know much about them and was wondering how different this company is to the likes of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, El Lily etc. who seem themselves to be described as "Pharmaceutical", where as Moderna are as "Biotechnical".

I've not really had time to scratch the surface, but merely to note the irony which is that their ticker code is MRNA.

Matt

SalvorHardin
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Re: Moderna

#375392

Postby SalvorHardin » January 10th, 2021, 9:41 am

TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:Hi Salvor,

I wondered if there were any other things that attracted you to Moderna, other than their recent success in the Covid mRNA vaccine?

I don't know much about them and was wondering how different this company is to the likes of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, El Lily etc. who seem themselves to be described as "Pharmaceutical", where as Moderna are as "Biotechnical".

Hi Matt

For me, a huge factor with Moderna is that mRNA technology is at the heart of everything that the company does.

All of its treatments and those still in the pipeline use mRNA. That isn't the case for the Pharmaceutical companies.

So if mRNA does live up to its promise, Moderna should have a very strong position. I just haven't a clue as to how big that could be.

TheMotorcycleBoy
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Re: Moderna

#375505

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » January 10th, 2021, 3:23 pm

SalvorHardin wrote:
TheMotorcycleBoy wrote:Hi Salvor,

I wondered if there were any other things that attracted you to Moderna, other than their recent success in the Covid mRNA vaccine?

I don't know much about them and was wondering how different this company is to the likes of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, El Lily etc. who seem themselves to be described as "Pharmaceutical", where as Moderna are as "Biotechnical".

Hi Matt

For me, a huge factor with Moderna is that mRNA technology is at the heart of everything that the company does.

All of its treatments and those still in the pipeline use mRNA. That isn't the case for the Pharmaceutical companies.

So if mRNA does live up to its promise, Moderna should have a very strong position. I just haven't a clue as to how big that could be.

Cheers Salvor,

I plan to look at MRNA in more detail sometime soon. I took a quick look at their wiki page and noted that their initial interest, seemed to be in stem cell research and cancer treatments. I put those two together and arrived at articles such as Stem cell transplants in cancer treatment.

I note that it was in about 2018 that the vaccine research research portfolio was increased, and at the tail end of the same year, they IPOd:

In 2018, the company rebranded as "Moderna Inc." with the ticker symbol MRNA, and further increased its portfolio of vaccine development.[9] In December 2018, Moderna became the largest biotech initial public offering in history, raising $621 million (27 million shares at $23 per share) on NASDAQ, and implying an overall valuation of $7.5 billion for the entire company.[31][32] The year-end 2019 SEC filings showed that Moderna had accumulated losses of $1.5 billion since inception, with a loss of $514 million in 2019 alone, and had raised $3.2 billion in equity since 2010.[9][23] As of December 2020, Moderna was valued at $60 billion.[33]

In March 2020, in a White House meeting between the Trump administration and pharmaceutical executives, Bancel told the president that Moderna could have a COVID-19 vaccine ready in a few months.[9] The next day, the FDA approved clinical trials for the Moderna vaccine candidate, with Moderna later receiving investment of $483 million from Operation Warp Speed.[9] Moderna board member, Moncef Slaoui, was appointed head scientist for the Operation Warp Speed project.[9]


Given that so far they are still making a loss, I wonder, how do businesses such as these get monetised? That is, turn the loss into profit, do organisations like our NHS, and in America private health care companies strike up contracts with them?

We are also aware of their partnership with AZN, so I'm curious as to whether that relationship will facilitate more of MRNA's mRNA products appearing in chemist shops.

thanks Matt

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Re: Moderna

#375512

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » January 10th, 2021, 3:52 pm

PeterGray wrote:As you say Matt, it's an RNA virus, not an mRNA one. However whether the genetic code in a virus is DNA or RNA is not really relevent to the action of mRNA vaccines. They have the potential to work against a wide range of viruses.

Wow. Do you know why exactly?

I've done a little bit of background reading and it seems that both research in both "DNA vaccines" and "mRNA vaccines" are quite recent developments, and a big departure from the "classic" vaccine in which (I *think*) one is injected with a dose of the real but weakened/dead virus, which provided substrate for the host to develop antibodies.

What I'm understanding so far is that DNA/mRNA vaccines some how infiltrate the host's (i.e. a person's) cells (not sure which) and directly turn them into antibody factories. At least I that's what I think is happening if I have interpreted this correctly:

One promising approach aimed at dramatically increasing the immunogenicity of genetic vaccines involves making them ‘self-replicating’. This can be accomplished by using a gene encoding RNA replicase, a polyprotein derived from alphaviruses, such as Sindbis virus. Replicase-containing RNA vectors are significantly more immunogenic than conventional plasmids, immunizing mice at doses as low as 0.1 μg of nucleic acid injected once intramuscularly. Cells transfected with ‘self-replicating’ vectors briefly produce large amounts of antigen before undergoing apoptotic death. This death is a likely result of requisite double-stranded (ds) RNA intermediates, which also have been shown to super-activate DC. Thus, the enhanced immunogenicity of ‘self-replicating’ genetic vaccines may be a result of the production of pro-inflammatory dsRNA, which mimics an RNA-virus infection of host cells.

from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1986720/

Both DNA and mRNA vaccines are candidate vectors, but mRNA has generally higher efficacy over DNA based, with stability being traded off:

Another obvious implication for this is that, compared to plasmid DNA, which must enter the nucleus of a cell, the mRNA only needs to be present in the cytoplasm, which eliminates the additional cellular (i.e., nuclear) membrane that plasmid DNA needs to cross. On the other hand, plasmid DNA is more stable than mRNA, and each DNA molecule results in the production of multiple mRNA molecules, thus the theoretical advantages of one over the other boil down to the realities of the net stability of plasmid DNA versus mRNA in their final formulation, as well as the efficiencies of targeting to the desired cell, the transduction to the cytoplasm or nucleus followed by the efficiencies of transcription of the plasmid DNA (resulting in amplification from DNA to mRNA), and the translation of mRNA, whether transcribed from DNA or in vitro-transcribed mRNA, to protein (also resulting in amplification).

from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6631684/

Matt

PS. Peter: I hope you didn't mind me quoting your earlier one in a different thread.

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Re: Moderna

#375598

Postby PeterGray » January 10th, 2021, 8:00 pm

Matt

What I was talking about was how the genetic material of the virus was carried. That can be either DNA or RNA. my expertise is limited here, but the point is that either RNA or DNA, injected into a cell can potentially lead to the production of proteins or further genetic material. That's how viruses replicate - taking over the mechanisms of the cell to create more of themselves.

You are right, as far as I know, that DNA and mRNA vaccines are a recent development. "Traditional" vaccines were things like cowpox for smallpox - cowpox is of little danger to humans, but since it is similar in structure cowpox is also effective in activating an immune response for smallpox (so milk maids tended not to get smallpox).

Since then a lot of vaccines have been inactivated forms of real viruses or similar viruses that are less, or not, harmful.

It's only recent molecular biology that's allowed the ability to design a protein structure that mimics part of the virus capsule, to then get the body's cells to synthesiss it, and so activate an immune response. The immune response has 2 parts - B cells respond to antigens (the virus, or mimic) and produce antibodies - that bind to the antigens and neutralise them. But there are also T cells that recognise the antigen and and kill infected cells, so preventing replication.

Clearly, as we've seen this year, modern molecular biology allows rapid sequencing of viruses, understanding of their structure and then development of mRNA signals that get the body's cells to produce harmless proteins that can activate an immune response. The implications are considerable. And should allow much more rapid and targeted vaccine production in future. Beign able to get cells to produce designed proteins may also have significant benefits in treatment of some other health issues.

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Re: Moderna

#376644

Postby TheMotorcycleBoy » January 13th, 2021, 4:13 pm

Well, I bit the bullet on Monday and added a small position in MRNA. My conclusion was that

1. They should report big top line growth soon, with covid vaccine sales
2. They seem to be one of the leaders in mRNA

and buying when I did I figure there's potential for upside, given their December $178 high.

Matt


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